* Posts by 2Fat2Bald

180 posts • joined 4 May 2012


EU lawmakers vote to ban sales of combustion engine cars from 2035


One of two things are going to happen;

1/ We'll discover a way of producing lots of cheap electricity and install a massive charging infrastructure for all those people who don't have a parking space right outside their house. We'll also discover massive deposits of lithium needed to make the batteries for these electric cars. The actual cars don't need much improvement for mass adoption - current electric cars are actually "good enough" - it's just that Teslas are ruinously expensive for most people and I've read that the raw materials (lithium, particularly) are hard to come by - no idea how true/persistent that is.


2/ Cars will become - once again - the preserve of the rich. The less well off will walk, use public transport and just have to live and shop near to where they work. Like things were until about 70 years ago. Streets will go back to pedestrian/cyclist zones with the occasional electric car humming past. It might be nice to have less traffic noise, congestion and for kids to play in the street again. Local shops will make a comeback once we're no longer driving to edge-of-town big-box stores to shop. People will WFH much more as commuting becomes more expensive and time consuming.

I know one thing. Fuel is reaching £2.00 a Litre (or £9.00 a Gallon if you prefer) and the roads are still packed with cars - mostly bigger and less fuel efficient than needed. That tells me that mere financial pressure won't stop people from being in love with their cars, so this process is going to be painful.


Re: And the UK ?

As do the UAE, Hong Kong and a few others. It's more common than you're think & the 240v/13A wallop is really useful if you want to brew a cup of tea!

Low on passengers, low on memory: A bad day on the London Underground


I'm not even sure why you'd use Windows for that - It's a desktop operating system. Windows IoT may be a little different, I don't know. But I'd prefer to build this on some flavour of Linux personally. Which would probably mean a Pi or something generally cheaper than a PC. Often less than a Windows licence.

I've built digital signage in the past and actually incorporated a nightly reboot into it to counter this kind of thing.

£42k for a top-class software engineer? It's no wonder uni research teams can't recruit


To be honest. I'm not 100% sure the problems with recruiting/retaining staff are 100% money-related.

There's often a good reason someone is sat there in a university research department on nominal wages and not absolutely raking it in consulting for big business. And it isn't always philanthropy.

I'm I'm guessing he won't be printing anything much for a while.....

RIP Sir Clive Sinclair: British home computer trailblazer dies aged 81


I had a spectrum and was a bit of a fan back in the day. 14 year old me really wanted a C5. People always bring up the C5 when discussing Sir Clive. Oddly they overlook the QL, which also fell flat on it's face (overtaking the Mac and PC wasn't likely in business, even back then).

To be honest I think the C5 was an idea ahead of it's time or at least ahead of technology - the lead-acid batteries were never going to be good enough for a road vehicle of practical performance in a world of petrol cars. I can only think it was originally supposed to be a more ambitious thing more like a mini metro or renault 5 and got cut down and cut down until it emerged as this sort-of electrically assisted recumbant bike that eventually hit the market. To be honest if you just needed to commute in moderate traffic a short distance through town to your office job or college or something it was probably perfectly fine - most of the year. Only now are electric cars gaining mass adoption - slowly. I did feel at the time the press were being a little unfair to it - it had it's place but as a niche product for commuters and shopper - more a replacement for the push-bike or the moped than a small car. Whoever tried to market it to suited business people should just stop trying to market anything to anyone.

I no longer have a burning hatred for Jewish people, says Googler now suddenly no longer at Google


What's particular about Semites that disliking them is any worse then disliking anyone else for irrational reasons?

Just call it all "racism". You don't need to start inventing special silos to put everyone in - it's kinda how the whole thing gets started. Please just stop

Things are getting almost Orwellian. The problem with people saying racist things isn't the naughty words, it's the thoughts behind those words.

After 15 years and $500m, the US Navy decides it doesn't need shipboard railguns after all


I've often wondered where the limit lies with these things. Ultimately you get to the point where the projectile you're firing is travelling so fast (by definition at sea level) that aerodynamic heating is going to destroy it - it's effectively at re-entry speeds in the densest atmosphere - you shoot a kilo of tungsten at them, and 2 miles away there's a large cloud of tungsten dioxide vapour!

Railguns may make sense in space, but in an atmosphere they might make about as much sense as a subaquatic sidewinder missile.

An anti-drone system that sneezes targets to death? Would that be a DARPA project? You betcha


I'd say this needs further work in order to become useful. I see the target drone flying straight-and-level at significant altitude and not attempting to evade the interceptor at all. It might do that - in theory - if it's flying GPS waypoints. But with a human at the controls it's going to be flying low and probably dodging around buildings trees and so on and is likely to react to the presence of the interceptor by flying away. Also the launch vehicle seems pretty close to the drone, which may be unlikely to happen in operational use.

Here's how we got persistent shell access on a Boeing 747 – Pen Test Partners


Re: Are there any passenger 747s still flying?

Yes. Annoys the heck out of me "One of the most unique..."

No. No no no no. "Unique" means there's only one - literally. What you meant to say is "One of the most unusual" or something. But something is either unique, or it isn't. You can't have comparative levels of uniqueness.

Similarly. "I was only 2 minutes late and the boss literally tore my head off about it!". I think that's called "Capital punishment" and generally isn't permitted in the workplace. I think you meant to say was he *figuratively* tore your head off. Which is the diametric opposite of what you just said.

I'm severely dyslexic. And I knew that.


Maybe I mis-read something. Given that this is just the in flight entertainment system which I'd hope is very airgapped from anything flight-related I don't think anyone needs to be too worried.

non-safety-related system.

no longer used.

hack is difficult to carry out.

hack probably needs physical access to areas passengers generally don't have.

Breathless news-speak version "Airliner hacked!" real-talk version "unusually convoluted and difficult way to break obsolete computer system discovered by curious nerds".

About the worst of it is some disgruntled airline employee deciding to have a jape by substituting "Debbie Does Dallas" for "How the grinch stole Christmas" :-)

Hospitals cancel outpatient appointments as Irish health service struck by ransomware


Re: Sanctions?

Well, they were criminals and not state actors. So by that logic in 2005 we should have taken sanctions against the UK after the 7/7 bombings.

I don't know what you can do against the Russian state. We don't trade that much with them, so even ignoring the question of scale economic sanctions aren't going to be effective and the military option would be a exciting yet mortifyingly brief exercise in futility. Diplomatic grumbling is probably the most we can do.

Train operator phlunks phishing test by teasing employees with non-existent COVID bonus


This does not seem classy behavior.

What would really be funny would be if someone took them to court & the beak applied the logic that, since it was indeed sent by the organisation or their agents, it was actually a legally enforceable contract. The thing is, you can only take the "just a joke" get-out-of-contract card so far.... Sure you can claim later that you didn't mean it, it was just a test, just a joke or a mistake - but clearly at some point that becomes unreasonable & they clearly already have a contractual relationship of some sort with their staff. Of course life doesn't work like that, but it's a happy little thought on a Friday.

Dev creeped out after he fired up Ubuntu VM on Azure, was immediately approached by Canonical sales rep



I've given up trying to tell people that "The Cloud" is just marketing speak for "our internet-connected servers". That's literally all it means. Similarly "your data" means "our data about you". Mind you, that's just how society is these days - it's all internet-connected and privately owned. You don't have to use it but you miss out on a lot if you don't, so it's somewhat of a Faustian pact perhaps but one a LOT of people have signed up for.

This is no longer the era of the Sinclair Spectrum...

CD Projekt Red 'EPICALLY pwned': Cyberpunk 2077 dev publishes ransom note after company systems encrypted


Air gapping is a two-edged sword as had been pointed out. Years ago (early 00s) I worked for a company where they had 2 air-gapped networks and the "inner" (secure) network literally not routed outside the building at all. So how did people WFH or whatever? - KVM over IP. Yep, they literally VPN'd into the "outer" (admin/general) network and jumped onto a KVM switch that was attached to a desktop PC (I kid you not) in a rack that was on the "inner" network. So you had full access and could work with (and screen-shot!) anything. You just couldn't copy anything off to anywhere as there were precisely no routes off that network. All you could do is type, mouse and watch.

Always struck me as a simple answer to a problem.

To extract stuff I suppose you could pull something up, scroll through it and use OCR to reconstruct it or use a virtual keyboard to "type" malicious code in very quickly? - this is the thing. There's always a way.

Loser Trump's last financial disclosure docs reveal Tim Cook gave him $5,999 Mac Pro, the 'first' made in Texas



That kind of thing really annoys me. 50p, eh? - well done, beancounter. Do you have any idea how valuable goodwill can be, and how much you just p1ss3d up the wall? madness.

Of course. The next time you want that person to "hang around" after 5pm to finish something off, do you think they will? If you want the kind of environment where someone leaves your off-siter at 4pm so they're not late home rather than staying until 6pm to complete the work today, this is how you achieve that.



GBP 140 would buy a few pints...

not in 2021......................... Well, unless ordered with a "Substantial Meal".... Whatever that is.

Trump's gone quiet, Parler nuked, Twitter protest never happened: There's an eerie calm – but at what cost?


Interesting point, isn't it?

Do you make a private company answerable to the state, or make the state answerable to a private company?

Theranos destroyed crucial subpoenaed SQL blood test database, can't unlock backups, prosecutors say


Re: Sure thing

Their data is totally transparent. In the sense that you can't see it at all.

Amazon turns Victorian industrialist with $2bn building project to house workers near new headquarters


Re: Scary

I would point out that for most people the fact is that if you lose your job you lose your home because you can no longer afford to pay rent or mortgage (as per) on it. Arguably, the mechanism is a little different here but the practical effect much the same.

The only difference is that you can change employers without moving whereas with this deal you can't. Although, again, much of the time people relocate for work anyway... so. there's that.

Steve Wozniak at 70: Here's to the bloke behind Apple who wasn't a complete... turtleneck


And Yet

There are still people out there who consider IT a "young person's career", for whatever reason. Maybe because it doesn't require comprehensive knowledge and experience and does require good physical fitness and short reaction times?

Oh, no. Hang on.

cmd.exe is dead, long live PowerShell: Microsoft leads aged command-line interpreter out into 'maintenance mode'


Don't get me wrong, powershell can do some good stuff, but CMD.exe has some lovely, simple, familiar stuff in it that people use daily. I like it a lot and will mourn it's passing.

But. Nothing lasts forever.

Animal crossing? Nah! Farmyard frolics, courtesy of Novell and pals


Something similar happened to me around 20 years ago. Having decided to stop screwing around and actually work for a living I took a year out and did City-and-Guilds. However it transpires that the course I'm on A) had no real-world currency with the intended profession and B) Even if I DID get a job, it didn't pay well as many are called and few are chosen C) I wasn't likely to be chosen, as I didn't got to the "right school". So. F*ck that.

I had discovered that years of gaming had basically equipped me for Helpdesk work, though. So I started to do that instead. And here I am. My one regret about my IT career is that I didn't start it ten years earlier (immediately after leaving school). That said, I had a lot of fun without one.

COBOL-coding volunteers sought as slammed mainframes slow New Jersey's coronavirus response


Note how they want the work done for free. Work they could have paid for at any time in the last few decades.......

BOFH: Will the last one out switch off the printer?


I've actually had something similar happen. Some mandarin mandated that all printers MUST be turned off to save power because he saw somewhere that printers draw a lot of current. So everyone runs around turning printers off before going home for the night. Fast forward a few weeks and they want to know why the printers are no longer auto-ordering consumables using the system that audits them once a day out-of-hours to see if they need any consumables.

See if you can guess why.

This is why they have power-save. Which these days works remarkably well, and explains why you occasionally have to wait for the thing to warm up before it prints if you print at an unusual time.

Boeing 787s must be turned off and on every 51 days to prevent 'misleading data' being shown to pilots


I think it depends on what you mean by "rebooted". Are these systems that stay live in the aircraft when it isn't in use? - if they are then there might be a problem. If they shutdown when the aircraft isn't in use then they're going to get a reboot pretty regularly and I doubt they'd ever get to the end of the period.

Anyway it isn't hard to fix. All sorts of things need to be checked before/after a flight. So you just add it to that checklist. "Has the aircraft been rebooted in the last 40 days?". But that's so straightforward I reckon they'd have thought of it already.

Alternatively. Build it into the aircraft's own software to reboot (or refuse to operate without one!) automatically every so often. Again, seems too easy..

So I reckon there has to be more to this one.

UK Carphone Warehouse shops set to sling their last phones, 2.9k redundancies hit high street, as Dixons closes all 531 'standalone' sites


It's a shame, but it's been pretty obvious that even CPW didn't want their stores any more. When upgrade came around I got several calls from their call centre trying to get me to upgrade over the phone. It struck me as a little disloyal to the stores. When I've had problems the stores can't help me, beyond call the call centre on my behalf which I appreciate but it strikes me that they could give the stores access to the same system(s) to deal with returns/repairs. They the stores are intentionally being neutered to a position less effective than the call centre or website.

I have to say I've almost always had good experienced with CPW stores. I liked going in and fondling the handsets before buying one & the staff have always been helpful.

A cynic might imagine that - whilst this isn't directly caused by Covid-19 - this is hardly going to be the major news story it otherwise might have been right now. So the timing could be opportunistic. Which would be pretty shitty to be honest.

Game over, man: Microsoft test engineer who laundered stolen Xbox credits into $10m guilty of fraud


To be honest, 20 years? He may serve 10. Depending on how much money he has managed to hide well enough that it can't be reclaimed I wonder if he may come out of 10 years of living for free to leave the country and live the easy life off 10 years of interest on investments he made with the ill-gotten cash?

Call us immediately if your child uses Kali Linux, squawks West Mids Police


Re: Would be happy ...

I developed my wider interests in IT as a result of;

A) Needing/Wanting to play games and requiring technology in order to do so.

B) Being pretty well useless for anything else, having spent my formative years playing video games.


The police have a massive cultural problem in dealing with high-tech crime. The kind of person who is good at picking through complex high tech evidence and building a case against someone is almost the diametric opposite of the kind of person who integrated well with police "Van Culture". Historically what they've tried to do it take someone who's good an investigating burglaries and re-train them to be good at investigating tech crime. Which doesn't work, not least because the subject is far too complex, nuanced and fast changing to be covered in a 2-week one-time course.

The NCA was supposed to be the answer to this. However, they flunked the execution stage by - you guessed it - staffing it with coppers. Which was the problem all along. They've been positively selected to be crap at this.

Fed-up air safety bods ban A350 pilots from enjoying cockpit coffees


not the most dignified outcome - but why not give them sippie cups?

With a nice, strong screw on lid they'll only ever dribble if turned over. Which has to help.

Unlocking news: We decrypt those cryptic headlines about Scottish cops bypassing smartphone encryption


I do wonder if such systems are only able to read data, or if they can write it as well?

Radio nerd who sipped NHS pager messages then streamed them via webcam may have committed a crime


Your insurance may not pay out, but it remains a criminal offence (those are not the same thing). Think about it - if this wasn't the case then people could just wonder into each other's gardens and steal whatever they wanted. But it's true that it isn't "breaking and entering", which is a different offence to burglary that DOES require someone to "break in" to a premises.

not that this really matter. Intercepting and publishing private radio communications is clearly a different thing from entering a property with criminal intent...

Poor, poor mobile networks. UK's comms watchdog plans to stop 'em selling locked-down handsets


You're actually at liberty to buy an unlocked handset and sim-only contract right now.

I think if you want a £600 feature phone without paying £600 for it, going on a 24 month contract with a £25 a month charge for the handset is reasonable - same as if you can't afford anything you can pay for it over time on credit terms. I do think there are questions about the reasonableness of telling you that you must keep buying your airtime from them over that term, though, provided you keep up the payments on the phone I don't see why you should be forced to give them your other business. That's like a car manufacturer selling you a car on finance terms and insisting you only get it serviced at main dealer during it's warranty and finance terms...... okay, bad example.....

Halfords invents radio signals that don't travel at the speed of light


Depends what you mean by "Fast". I guess you could argue;

A) DAB has more bandwidth than FM, so it is capable of getting more information to the user...

B) The frequency is higher, meaning you get more waves per second, ie it's a faster way to get 1 million "waves"...........

But I think this was written by some marketing drone with no idea how it all actually works & probably imagines it's like broadband & speed is actually a major thing for the consumer when listening to what is, effectively, an unbuffered media stream with no reliability built in.

DAB is now pretty good in the parts of the UK I frequent. There are occasional black spots, but I can get to Scala Radio, Jazz FM, Planet Rock and so on just fine for most of the UK. Trouble is. I can get FM basically anywhere.

High Court dismisses nameless Google Right To Be Forgotten sueball man... yes, again


Re: It seems that ABC is well aware of the Streisand effect

I'd imagine he'll be paying them through his solicitor.

Mind you. Why are we all assuming the male pronoun here? - El Reg used it, but do we know that it is a man?

Reaction Engines' precooler tech demo chills 1,000°C air in less than 1/20th of a second


Just where in the hell is everyone going in a such a hurry?


RAF pilot seconded to Virgin Orbit for three years of launching rockets from a 747


I don't recall the details. But there was a plan back in the day to launch rockets under huge balloons. The plan was they would float up (like giant weather balloons) to high altitude without using any fuel and then the rocket engine would ignite and blast the rocket through the balloon into space from 60,000 feet - climbing the first 60k without fuel was supposed to save a lot of fuel. I don't think much came of it. Possibly because the complexities of doing so far outweighed any savings in fuel.

Tesco parking app hauled offline after exposing 10s of millions of Automatic Number Plate Recognition images


I once got stopped by the police for having no numberplate on my motorcycle. The officer examined where the plate should have been and noticed the clean plastic where it had broken off, laughed and gave me directions to a motorcycle dealers who could make me a new plate. I went there, got a new plate and found the sneaky bugger parked up outside to make sure I did it. He even wondered over to lend me a screwdriver from his car's toolkit to help fit it.

I think that's how policing should be done. It was obvious the plate had just dropped off a short while ago (probably due to the big thumper engine in the bike) because the broken part was still clean no other offences were present, so the officer used his discretion. And this is the point of getting actual humans to enforce rules rather than buggy computer code...

AMD agrees to cough up $35-a-chip payout over eight-core Bulldozer advertising fiasco


Spin and bullcrap

I think the problem here is that the word "Core" is actually a marketing term. What is a "Core"? - if someone says "It can process 2 thread simultaneously" then that's a specific, testable claim. But since the term "Core" doesn't have a specific technical meaning, it's a little harder to test the claim since the speaker is allowed to define what a "core" is in terms of the product under discussion.

Airbus A350 software bug forces airlines to turn planes off and on every 149 hours


149 is around 6 days. So I don't know how serious this actually is as it seems pretty unlikely an aircraft would remain sat there for 6 days, powered on and not being used. Unless the aircraft is put in some kind of "sleep" mode, or something like that and the time is still counting up.

Even so. Doesn't sound a hard one to fix with a routine that refuses the start the engines if the aircraft is on the ground and has over 120 hours since the last reboot.

Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP


I know it's sad - I used to use them. But they've not been Demon for some years. Not really.

A few reasons why cops haven't immediately shot down London Gatwick airport drone menace


Shotguns are definitely a better option than rifles, any gamekeeper will tell you that.

As far as jamming goes - they'd have to block rather a lot of channels to down the drone, since most of them use frequency hopping. There is the usual 2.4 Ghz band. It could also be using 5ghz, or maybe using WiFi or mobile data etc etc. And how do you tell if the signal you're jamming is the drone control signal out of the morass of signals you're typically dealing with? - of course it could simply be pre-programmed with waypoints so not using a signal at all.

You can keep a heli in the area to look for it, but that would have the same essential effect as the drone (!) if help in the air. If kept on the ground, contrary to what you see in action movies, taking off in a helicopter takes several minutes - especially from a major international airport. So by the time the thing is in the air the drone probably will have vanished again.

Does it strike anyone else as odd that apparently nobody has come forward to claim responsibility for this?

Concerns over cops' crap computer kit: UK MPs call for cash, capacity, command


Having experience of both policing and IT I can tell you that the Police themselves are culturally incapable of tackling high tech crime. They've almost been bred to be exactly the wrong sort of people to do it.

To he honest. At this point I'd take high-tech and organised crime off the County forces and give it to a regional force made up of as few old-school cops as possible - made mainly out of geeks and nerds. Not necessarily graduates, but people from industry or with relevant skills.

High tech crime is inherently complex and nuanced. It's not really suitable for investigation by someone who's been more-or-less bred to look for simple, quick disposals. And it's amazing how few people who can understand code, computer networks and so on want to spend 2 years on street duties before they can possibly apply for what they actually want to do with uncertain probability of actually getting it. All what earning less than they could do for any outsourcer or consultancy.

Should a robo-car run over a kid or a grandad? Healthy or ill person? Let's get millions of folks to decide for AI...


In reality, cars are not going to make these decisions - which are value judgement. They're simply going to try to avoid a collision with the object. If they swerve to avoid an animal and then a human also gets in the way and there is no solution to them avoiding the human, they'll hit them. If hazards appear at the exact same moment, it'll try to avoid both but if that's not possible, the laws of physics will dictate the outcome, not the car's logic.

Imagine the product liabity on anything else - The product effectively making a positive decision to kill someone because they're less valuable than someone else? - no way, Jose. It'll just be "avoid all collisions, until the laws of physics determine what you hit".

You'll never guess what you can do once you steal a laptop, reflash the BIOS, and reboot it


For me, sleep/hibernate/suspend are for walking from one meeting to another. Or Possibly to preserve battery life when you're going AFK for a bit. They're not for making sure your PC pops up as you left it the following day. People do that and then complain when their PC runs slowly and takes 30 minutes to reboot when it finally, finally, finally gets to patch. Memory leaks are still a thing, I'm afraid.

Anon man suing Google wants crim conviction to be forgotten


I think it's up the other people to decide if someone's "spent" conviction is important, or not. Clearly they do think it's important (or ABC anticipates that they will), since he's fussed about getting it removed.

Tech support chap given no training or briefing before jobs, which is why he was arrested


Re: Back in my day

yeah, it's always the lowly branch manager, though. genuinely senior people usually realise it's best to encourage people you're relying on.

'Please store the internet on this floppy disk'


Re: I wonder if there's corellation here...

if anyone is rude to me, I just walk off. don't care who they are, I'm not paid for that.

Tor-forker Joshua Yabut cuffed for armoured personnel carrier joyride


It isn't a tank, its a mobile command post. It's armour is proof (ish) against light weapons (ie handguns), but other than that its about equivalent to a not-very-efficient earthmover.

There are no reports of casualties or serious damage, and he was arrested peacefully. Sounds like the police handled it pretty well. I wonder how many of those pursuing cars were military police?

New UK drone laws are on the way – but actual Drones Bill still in limbo


Badly reported, or badly done?

If they've literally just used the word "Drone" in the legislation then they do have a problem. I'd argue that a "drone" is actually self-controlled (ie waypoints or AI). Whereas what I fly (manually) is a quadcopter. Certainly I don't think my Heli or fixed wing types are "drones".

I guess is the legislation contains a legal definition of "drone" then it could be fair enough, but then again if people appeal and say the legislation is faulty because what you're defining as a "drone" isn't... Where does that leave you? You could expand the definition of "drone" to encompass all model aircraft, really.

To be honest, I think the 250g weight limit is too low. I also disagree with putting the matter under the auspices of the CAA who - speaking frankly - are motivated to do what they can to ruin drones because they're a competitor to their industry. It's like putting gaslighters in charge of managing these new-fangled electric lights.



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